A federal judge’s ruling striking down the policy that prohibits openly homosexual members from serving in the U.S. military could stand, particularly if the Obama administration chooses not to appeal, but would not necessarily carry weight in other circuits.

U.S. District Judge Virginia Phillips in Riverside, Calif., ruled on Thursday that the law behind the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy is unconstitutional because it violates gays’ and lesbians’ rights under the due process clause of the Fifth Amendment and the First Amendment’s freedom of speech.

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